Exclusive Interview: David Koechner on Anchorman 2
David Koechner called me himself directly, and when I answered the phone said, “I need to talk to Fred immediately” in a deadpan gravitas that made me laugh. Koechner returns as Champ Kind in Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues. Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) gets a job on the burgeoning cable news industry in 1980 and brings his old San Diego news team along with him. Champ had retired from news to open the fast food chain Whammy Chicken, and it wasn’t exactly chicken he’s serving. We spoke with Koechner about some of the film’s funny lines and set pieces, so spoiler warning, but writer/director Adam McKay shoots so many alternate lines, there’s really no telling what’s in the finished film anyway.
CraveOnline: Are you doing any appearances in character as Champ Kind?
David Koechner: I already have. I did some stuff for ESPN and I did another television show, Regis’s new one on Fox Sports 1, “Crowd Goes Wild.” Every once in a while some radio plays, they’ll ask me to do stuff as Champ. Local television shows on this tour have asked for a little Champ Kind. I don’t mind indulging it every once in a while.
Yeah, that’s fun. When the four of you are all together in costume, how do you time the lineup? The guys in the back have to peek out a little after the guys in the front, right?
Well, mine requires an adjustment to light because the hat can cast a shadow. So they always have to place me in the right spot. For whatever reason, we all seem to have a good chemistry where we know where the other person’s going to be in the scene while we’re doing it. There’s a shorthand that we all share.
Someone said, “How do you guys jump at the same time?” I said I can’t remember ever thinking about it. I can’t remember if someone said, “One, two…” or how we did it. We just do it. It’s not that remarkable. It’s just guys jumping at the same time but other people picked up on stuff like that and go, “How did you do that?”
How many whammys would you say in a row for the whammy montage?
Oh, who knows? Why count? Just keep going. I know I did several takes and tried to do several different variations.
Ron actually has a real character arc in this one. Was there more of a Champ subplot that didn’t make the final cut?
I will say that there’s another hour and a half of movie that has yet to be put together, that they will put out as an alternative DVD. Adam has said that there’s an additional 300 jokes. I know there’s a complete musical scene that was cut from the movie because it just didn’t fit. The movie’s almost two hours anyway so there’s a lot of movie that people are still going to see on DVD.
So there’s a sequel to Wake Up, Ron Burgundy as well as Anchorman 2?
Yes, it’s like that, because in the first movie we had shot that movie with a subplot that got excised from the original picture. This wasn’t on purpose. We just had so much stuff, we got great stuff every day, plus we’d improvise. It’s a crime it couldn’t all wind up on there. In fact, we were lobbying McKay to put this movie out in two parts so that everything could be preserved.
Would you even want Champ to have an arc and a redemption?
I don’t think Champ ever can be redeemed. I don’t think there’s redemption in sight for Champ. What actor wouldn’t want more but really, the end game is what’s going to be the best movie. That’s all that really matters.